What’s in my bag?!

I’ve read a lot of other photographer’s posts on various sites on the contents of their bag when they go out shooting. So I thought I’d join in on the fun and let you all see what was in my bag during the 10 days that I was shooting the Luminato Festival. While the contents may have changed slightly from one day to another, the picture here displays the minimum amount of items that I carried for those 10 days.

Let’s break this down by the numbers, shall we?

  1. That’s my trusty old Crumpler Formal Lounge bag that’s no longer in production. I bought this several years ago to take with me on my backpacking trip to Europe, where I carried three lenses and a Nikon D80 film camera with me wherever I went. The bag—even to this day—is by far the most comfortable bag I’ve ever used to carry my camera gear in. It’s a little old, all but one of the zippers have broken off of it, and there’s absolutely no more cushion in the shoulder straps, so I think it’s about time I get a replacement. Any suggestions from out there? This weighs about 1.8kg on its own.
  2. That’s my weapon of choice: Nikon D800. It’s heavy, but it does some pretty neat things. And I love it! Attached to it, shown in the photo, is my 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, which I also love. One look and people think it’s a fisheye, but really, it’s just a really, really, wide-angled lens. It weighs in at a good 2.13lbs (969g).
  3. And that’s the other lens I carried with me wherever I went: 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. It’s a beauty alright. I love that one as well, even though it weighs 3.4lbs (1.54kg)! It’s great for getting those far away shots on stage, and getting up close and personal with people from afar.
  4. That’s a Macbook Pro. It’s a rather old Macbook Pro, dating back to about 2008. It’s also very, very heavy at 5.0lbs (2.27kg). Urgh! I carried that thing so that I can start “starring” and filtering my photos for the day in Adobe Lightroom, on my subway trip back home. It saved me a load of time from having to do it once I got home to my desktop. During daytime shoots, I would just set myself down at the Hub (typically in the Volunteer Center where they had electrical outlets) and worked away on the photos on my Macbook so that I was done with them even before I got home. The battery doesn’t last more than 30 minutes now so I needed a plug wherever I settled myself down. I think it’s time for a Macbook Air: that will for sure save me in my costs for neck and shoulder massages!
  5. These are the miscellaneous items I had in my front pocket of my Crumpler.
    • I need a tissue wherever I go thanks to my lifelong, yearlong allergy symptoms.
    • And to save me from having to use my tissue, I had some allergy pills in case of emergency. I used them once during the 10 days.
    • SPF60 sunscreen. I hate wearing sunscreen. Because of that, I now have wrinkles around me eyes. But I carried this tube anyway as some days it was just too sunny even for my wrinkles. I actually used it quite a bit. Thanks L’Oreal!
    • While not shown here, I used to carry a small, portable Luminato-branded umbrella that I tucked in the side strap of my camera bag. It worked well, but broke during the week while using it.
    • I got this plastic rain poncho nearing the end of my 10 days. It saved me from getting soaked during the sudden downpours over the second weekend. I was out in the open when the storm came so this was a lifesaver (and camera-saver).
    • And finally, my Luminato lanyard. This was my all-access pass so I needed to wear this wherever I went. It also served as a pocket for my pen and waiver release forms that I needed for some of my photos.
    • A lens-cleaning cloth. Definitely a must for any photographer on the go. I used this in the middle of a shift to clean the inside of my camera because somehow a huge sticky substance made its way onto the mirror inside. A cloth is much more versatile than a lens-cleaning pen since it can get at almost any area on/in the camera. No lens-cleaning pen would have solved my mirror spot problem.
  6. This is my tripod. It’s a Gitzo Explorer series, which is another amazing tool that I love. It’s not carbon fiber so it’s quite heavy when you carry it with you for an extended period of time. It weighs in at 2.35kg for the legs, and 1.1kg for the head for a total of 3.45kg. It’s big, it’s tall, it’s a crappy thing to have to carry with you wherever you go. But with it, I’m able to take pictures like the one you see below. It makes it worthwhile once I see my end results with it. Again, without it, my massage bills would be drastically reduced. See that strap around the center post of my tripod? One of the other photographers commented on how he liked it a lot. I told him, I took that strap off a gym bag and now use it as my shoulder strap for my tripod. I have two of them so that I can carry my tripod like a backpack. It works well even though I may look silly carrying it. Most festival photographers probably don’t carry a tripod around with them since their gear and accessories are enough as it is. I don’t blame them. But it’s something I do since I believe it makes my pictures that much more pleasing than if I were to handhold a shot in low-light situations.


Without a tripod, photos like this would be much harder to get since I can’t put my camera on anything stable in the middle of an open area or halfway down a flight of stairs, like I was on when I took this photo.

Let’s round up the weight:
Crumpler Formal Lounge bag: 1.8kg
Nikon D800 body only: 900g
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII: 1.54kg
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8: 969g
Macbook Pro: 2.27kg
Gitzo Explorer Tripod and Head: 3.45kg

For a grand total of: 10.929kg. If you add in all the miscellaneous items, the total weight will exceed 11kg, or 24.25lbs!

I don’t know about you, but that equates to some long hours on the massage table for me. It’s kind of amazing that I was still standing up after 10 days.

So there you have it. Perhaps this is light compared to what you carry, or perhaps it’s overkill to others. Each photographer works differently and has their own set of goodies in their own bag. That’s why it’s always a nice insight to see what others carry.

The most important thing is, carry what you need to get the job done to your liking.

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